January 23, 2020

What to Consider When Choosing Between Microsoft 365 and Office 365

If you’re considering a migration to Office 365 or Microsoft 365, this blog is meant for you. With similar names and overlapping offerings, it’s easy to get Microsoft 365 confused with Office 365. But the two aren’t quite the same products. Before you choose one over another for your business’s operations, know the differences between them so you can set your business up for long-term success.


Both products are cloud-based; when you make changes and updates to your documents, they each make a record of it in the cloud. And both also require a monthly subscription fee under a variety of plans based on the number of users per month. But that’s where the similarities end.

Office 365 includes a small suite of other tools for enterprise application like Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and many other office productivity tools like SharePoint and Teams. Microsoft 365, on the other hand, bundles Office 365 with Windows 10 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility and Security (EM+S), and machine learning. This toolkit offers every enterprise a leg-up on protection and mobility.

Microsoft 365’s plans allow for decoupling of services; if you’ve already got a robust team optimizing your enterprise’s security around the clock, you can probably do without EM+S. Most products have singular subscription plans, and you can combine Office 365 with EM+S and Windows 10 Enterprise without springing for Microsoft 365. However, you will miss out on the machine learning benefits.


Every organization will use Microsoft’s products in different ways, but leveraging Microsoft’s machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) features can quickly set you apart from your competition. For example, Microsoft’s AI enables companies to automatically generate Excel spreadsheets from a photo. And that’s just the beginning.

The AI sends automated meeting transcripts from video conferences in Microsoft Teams. It can also act as a powerful, personalized search tool that is capable of examining your entire organization’s records in OneDrive, SharePoint, and third-party apps.

Microsoft 365 is also moving businesses into a passwordless future. That means Office 365, among other stand-alone products, will also receive passwordless sign-in support. An employee must input their username into the login screen. Then, using Microsoft’s Authenticator app on their mobile phone, employees simply match the phone’s displayed numbers to the sign-on screen’s numbers. The company must officially register the phone through the Authenticator app and secure it with a PIN number or biometrics.

For now, Microsoft pitches this login method as “Sign in with your phone, not your password”, rather than using the term “passwordless”. The company also started supporting sign-in using FIDO2 physical keys that look like USB thumb drives. Microsoft’s also working on NFC smartcard access to wane organizations off of reliance on physical RSA keys.


Is Passwordless Login Right for You?

If your company has been hacked, you should strongly consider implementing EM+S in your organization. 81% of hacks are attributed to lost, weak, or compromised passwords. And 73% of passwords are duplicates, making the actual hacking part easy. Microsoft’s push to remove passwords from enterprises signals, in their own words, “an end to the era of passwords.” And passwordless login may not make sense in your organization until the time is right. One thing is certain: enterprises that use multi-factor authentication are much less vulnerable to credential-based hacking attempts.

What Do You Really Need?

If you’re already using EM+S with Office 365 or Office 365 with Windows 10 Enterprise, adding on a few more additional services probably makes sense for your company. But if you’re only using Office 365 and are interested in implementing passwordless sign-in or AI in your enterprise’s operations, it may be more difficult to choose between an add-on service or upgrading to Microsoft 365. Ask yourself if you need everything that Microsoft 365 comes with.


It’s absolutely imperative to have a strong internet connection and security protocol that allows employees to continue seamlessly communicating and collaborating. 

Microsoft 365 offers an integrated and flexible platform with robust security on the back-end that both employees and employers can count on. If you foresee your company’s workforce slowly becoming more remote, consider using it. You will likely find more advantages in Microsoft 365’s suite of services over the single service model of Office 365.

By adding remote work into their schedules, employees travel less and have more time and energy. They also report higher job satisfaction when their workweek includes some work from home or remote check-ins. This saves businesses money and attracts better talent. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.


The great thing is that you can start out small by migrating to Office 365 and upgrade to Microsoft 365 as needed. No data or documents will be lost in the migration, and you can always make changes to your subscription.

Work with Core BTS to Migrate to Office 365 or Microsoft 365

Contact us to get started today!

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